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Officials release vote on Supt. Deasy's job evaluation

November 19, 2013|By Howard Blume
  • L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, left, will continue to lead the nation's second-largest school district until 2016, the district's legal counsel announced Tuesday, ending days of rumors that he might resign. Deasy, 52, received a satisfactory evaluation from the Los Angeles Board of Education after a nearly five-hour performance review behind closed doors. He and board President Richard Vladovic, right, make brief remarks after the announcement.
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, left, will continue to lead the nation's… (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles…)

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy received a positive job evaluation last month from the Board of Education by a vote of 5-1 with one member abstaining, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Tuesday. 

The district had previously refused to disclose the vote, but yielded this week, in an apparent response to a demand from The Times.

Board members endorsing Deasy were board President Richard Vladovic, Steve Zimmer, Monica Garcia, Tamar Galatzan and Bennett Kayser. The opposing vote was cast by Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. Monica Ratliff abstained.

The Oct. 29 evaluation happened in the context of a weeklong leadership crisis that began with Deasy himself, when he told some insiders and district leaders that he intended to resign.

Supporters eventually persuaded him, behind the scenes, to change his mind. At the same time, some of his backers publicly accused the school board of trying to force out the superintendent. While that wasn't true in the immediate sense, Deasy had frequently expressed his frustration, over many months, with the decisions and conduct of members of the Board of Education.

Deasy has never lacked majority support on the board, but the seven-member body is far from unanimous about supporting him or his policies.

Oct. 29 had already been set as the date of his evaluation, which had to occur, per his contract, by the end of October. He and board members were behind closed doors for hours; it was not clear, during that time, whether Deasy would continue to lead the nation's second-largest school system.

In fact, during that meeting, a proposed Deasy buyout was leaked to the media. Deasy had put together the document himself, working with district lawyers. The proposed settlement included his resignation in February and a consulting contract worth $440,000.

By the time of the school board meeting, however, Deasy had withdrawn the proposal, which was briefly discussed in the closed session, according to insiders.

Until Tuesday, the district had withheld the Oct. 29 vote total, refusing to release it in response to public-records requests. Officials changed their position, apparently in response to a letter from a lawyer representing The Los Angeles Times. The demand from the newspaper was listed as an agenda item for a closed-door meeting that began at 10 a.m. and lasted about 4.5 hours.

The district had argued that a personnel evaluation could only be released with the approval of a board majority and the evaluated employee. That had been the case in 2012, when the district announced a positive evaluation by a vote of 6-0.

The newspaper noted, however, that, under the contract, a positive evaluation resulted in a one-year extension, through June 2016. In general, contract votes in closed session must be disclosed. 

The district initially stuck with its analysis, but yielded after a letter from attorneys. The information had also been requested by adult education teacher Matthew Kogan, who contacted the L.A. County district attorney, alleging a violation of state disclosure laws.

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Twitter: @howardblume

howard.blume@latimes.com

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